Romans 6:5 Si enim conplantati facti sumus similitudini mortis eius: simul, et resurrectionis erimus; For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
Mark 8:8 Et manducaverunt saturati sunt; And they did eat and were filled.
Dear Traditional Latin Mass Faithful,
In the Traditional Latin Mass there are two readings from the Sacred Scripture at each Mass, usually an epistle from St. Paul and then a selection from one of the four gospels. This form of the lectionary is so ancient that we have sermons going back to the earliest centuries of the Church’s life preached at Mass on exactly the same Sundays as they are preserved in the Traditional Latin Mass calendar. These homilies are the reflections of countless saints, doctors, and even Church Fathers, who heard the Scripture passage selections read or sung just as we do at the Traditional Latin Mass today. Amazing!! Just using this ancient lectionary links us to the Church’s bi-millennial Tradition in so many ways. When purchasing a Latin-English Missal I recommend the ones with the full Latin and English texts, so that even the readings from the Bible can be looked at in the Latin. The translation of the Bible into Latin is called The Vulgate Bible. It is interesting to note that Harvard University Press has just published a handsome six volume (seven books) edition of the Vulgate Bible with Latin on one side and the traditional English translation of the Latin on the other. The editors acclaim the profound influence the Latin translation has had on Christian faith and life and on Western civilization and culture. In most of the Church’s history the Scriptures were read and heard not in the original languages, nor in the vernacular, but in the official Latin text. Even in the reform of the liturgy after Vatican II Rome has proclaimed that the official Catholic Bible, and thus the new lectionary, is a new translation into Latin and thus called the New Vulgate. Midwest Theological Forum has just published an elegant edition of the New Vulgate Latin Lectionary for use at the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The Scripture passages this week draw our attention to the importance of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. In Baptism we first enter into the death and resurrection of the Lord. We become as St. Paul tells us “a new man.” The “old man” is Adam, who is now superseded by Jesus Christ, true God and true man. In Jesus Christ we are made new. We are reborn. We are filled with God’s life or sanctifying grace. We are recreated. There are many ways to describe the process. We become part of the New Order of Grace, the Kingdom of God here and in anticipation of the eternal Kingdom. We become adopted sons and daughters of the Father. We are indeed the beloved children of God. Therefore, our Christian dignity is great and profound. We are marked indelibly as belonging to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Every time we make the sign of the cross, or use Holy Water, we are reminded of the power Of Baptism, by which Original Sin is washed away and we rise up in Christ. Once baptized always baptized. Since by Baptism we enter into the death and Resurrection of the Lord, throughout our Christian lives we are obliged to continually die to sin and rise up in grace. This is a life time process. Most importantly at any given moment we must be as sure as possible that we are in The state of grace. That will determine whether we will live eternally in heaven with God or not. Very important doctrines, these.
In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, we read about the great miracle of multiplying the loaves and the fish. This is not the first Holy Eucharist, but an anticipation of it. Soon after, Our Lord would reveal that He is the Bread of Life come down from heaven to give life to our souls. At this point there is a parting of ways among many of Jesus’ disciples. Judas is in the lead. They found the Eucharistic teachings too much to accept. They preferred food for the body, not the soul. They wanted not to be fed spiritually, but only materially, and corporally. This is the temptation to superficiality always before us. This is the temptation to live only for this world and to disdain the kingdom built up by those who dare to love as Jesus loved. The Holy Eucharist feeds the eternal in us, said one writer. In the Traditional Latin Mass the priest says over every communicant: “May the body of Christ preserve your soul unto life eternal. Amen.” In the contemporary Church the love for the Mass and the Holy Eucharist is not what it once was. Many of souls have bought into the doctrines of the world. Many cannot even bring themselves to assist at Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation. Many have given up the struggle to become like Christ by participating in His death on Calvary renewed, made present, and offered as food for the soul. Yet, where ever there are those who love and revere the Eucharistic Christ, you will find the company of the Lord’s disciples. Let us never separate ourselves from the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Divine Lord and Savior Jesus Christ truly and really in our midst through His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.
Fr. Mark G. Mazza
Chaplain to the Traditional Latin Mass Society